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Attention: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, NYC, and maybe even Toronto drivers! Upstate New York is opening up this July. This impacts us, not just NY residents.

We can drop-off in most of NYS today, but will existing drivers from adjacent states be able to pickup in NYS in July? Only the NYS legislature and local municipalities that may set their own rules (expected in May) know for sure.

By Patrick Lohmann | [email protected]
on April 18, 2017 at 9:20 AM, updated April 18, 2017 at 11:45 AM

UPSTATE, N.Y. -- Ride-booking apps like Uber and Lyft won't arrive in Upstate New York until July at the earliest, but both apps are taking applications for those who want to drive for them.

Uber has said 50,000 people in Upstate New York -- including 10,000 in Syracuse -- have signed up to become drivers.

There are still some unanswered questions about how the apps will operate, both companies told Syracuse.com. Neither company has determined what the fares will be or said whether the app will be rolled out city by city or all at once.

But below are the requirements for drivers and their vehicles, according to statements from the companies and their websites. Drivers can find the applications for Uber and Lyft. Both offer new driver bonuses.

Drivers can work for both Uber and Lyft simultaneously.

If you want to drive for Uber, you must:
  • be at least 21 years old
  • have at least one year of driving experience, and three years of driving experience if you're under 23
  • be able to pass a background check
  • have a valid driver's license, proof of insurance and a bank account
Also, your vehicle must
  • have a four-door vehicle that seats at least five people, including yourself
  • be fewer than 15 years old
  • not be salvaged, reconstructed or rebuilt
  • not be a rental vehicle
  • not have any "cosmetic damage, missing pieces, commercial branding or taxi paint jobs"
If you want to drive for Lyft, you must:
  • Be at least 21 years old and have had an an active United States driver's license for a year
  • be able to pass a background and DMV check
  • have current license plates, registration and insurance with your name on the policy
  • own a smart phone
Also, your vehicle must:
  • Pass a vehicle inspection
  • not be a taxi or limousine
  • not have dents or external damage
  • have functioning brakes, windows, lights, seatbelts, seats and mirrors
  • and have tires that pass the "penny test"
The State Department of Motor Vehicles will also publish rules in early May that address ride-booking apps specifically to New York State that might affect drivers.

Fares vary across the country. In New Haven, Conn., population 130,660, a fare for a trip of about 4.5 miles from downtown to the airport costs between $9 and $13, according to Uber's website.

Uber and Lyft take a percentage of that fare, and drivers keep the rest. The amount the apps take from the fare varies.

Drivers pay for fuel and maintenance, and the companies do not provide health insurance.

The state's new law also loops ride-booking drivers into the New York City "Black Car Fund," which makes drivers eligible for workers' compensation.
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